The Hyundai i10 is a worthy class leader – and this revised model strengthens the car’s position at the top. Not only is it cheap to buy and run, but it comes with added peace of mind from the company’s five-year warranty package. Some buyers may be deterred by the looks, but once you discover how good the i10 is to drive, plus how spacious and well equipped the interior is, it’s hard not to be smitten.
Ten is Hyundai’s lucky number! In 2010, it sold more than 19,500 examples of the i10 to private buyers – beating Fiat’s 500 to the title of the UK’s most popular city car. But instead of resting on its laurels, the firm has just given the model a mid-life refresh.
The styling revisions are subtle, with the headlights, bumper and grille all being reprofiled – the latter now follows the hexagonal shape seen on the ix35. Colour-coded side mouldings feature, while the rear bumper, lights and alloy wheels have been reworked. The design is certainly improved as a result, although the i10 still isn’t exactly stylish, with its slab sides and small wheels.
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Inside are some minor detail changes. The instrument cluster has been freshened up, and the display screens now feature blue lighting. There’s a new cup-holder for rear passengers and all the cabin textiles have been upgraded and redesigned.
Thankfully, the previous car’s generous standard spec is carried over, as is the overall quality of the fit and finish. Every model features air-conditioning, electric windows, a six-speaker stereo and four airbags.
It all feels grown-up inside, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in a much larger car – partly due to the room on offer. Rear seat passengers are surprisingly well catered for, and while the boot isn’t massive, the underfloor storage tray on our Style model makes the available space much more useful.
The 1.25-litre petrol engine has been boosted by 10bhp to 85bhp, and promises 61.4mpg fuel economy and 108g/km CO2 emissions. Performance is acceptable, and only out of town does the Hyundai feel underpowered.
Steering weight is consistent, though, and the five-speed gearbox is precise. Ride comfort impresses, too, thanks to a long wheelbase for the class, grip is good and the brakes are strong.
Adding to the appeal, all i10s now get Hyundai’s five-year Triple Care warranty deal. This includes an unlimited mileage warranty, roadside assistance and vehicle health checks for five years.
The city car was already an Auto Express favourite, and these revisions have made it one of the most convincing products from the brand – and indeed in the sector.
Rival: Fiat 500 1.2 Pop
Entry-level 500 costs £9,665, and has the kind of charm and style the i10 just can’t match. However, it’s not as spacious, and you’ll have to pay extra for air-con and alloy wheels.